As digital payments spread, the cash lobby raises its voice

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It’s been called “the war on cash.”

Credit card companies, tech startups, and even some governments have pushed to move consumers away from carrying around a wad of bills in their pocket toward using plastic or their smartphones to make payments. Digital transactions are safer, cheaper, and more convenient, they argue.

But the cash industry disagrees. And now, it’s fighting back.

A group of companies that make up the global supply chain for banknotes and coins came together last year to form the International Currency Association. Its membership, which costs $35,000 per year for larger companies, includes companies that make the paper for bills, the inks and holograms that are printed onto it, the machines for handling cash, and the machines for destroying it.

Its mission, its website says, is “to provide a powerful and cohesive voice to keep currency a preferred payment choice.”

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